What is a Canine Athlete?

Chris Zink, Brittany Jean Carr

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Canine sports medicine and rehabilitation is one of the newest specialties in veterinary medicine. It encompasses and integrates a variety of fields, including orthopedics, exer cise physiology, neurology, cardiology, pulmonology, nutrition, and others. Rehabilitation, which includes regaining and maintaining fitness as well as conditioning targeted toward prevention of future injury, is a critical partner to canine sports medicine. Canine athletes include dogs that compete in performance events as varied as agility trials, obedience trials, and disc dog competitions, as well as working dogs such as police/military dogs, search and rescue dogs, and assistance dogs for the disabled. Principles of canine sports medicine and rehabilitation apply to all active dogs, regardless of whether they train or compete; this comprises a large proportion of the canine population. Canine sports medicine and rehabilitation professionals play a pivotal role in helping canine athletes and working dogs recover after injury or illness. They work to prevent re-injury while moving the patient back to a state of muscular ability, endurance, coordination, balance, and flexibility that optimizes their physical abilities. Understanding the physical activities that are involved in different performance events and the jobs that working dogs perform is critical to devising targeted rehabilitation for sports/working dogs after injury or illness, and for retraining them to perform their specific duties. This is best accomplished by attending athletic/working dog training sessions and competitions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCanine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781119380627
ISBN (Print)9781119380382
StatePublished - Mar 28 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Canine athlete
  • Canine sports
  • Conditioning
  • Rehabilitation
  • Sports medicine
  • Working dogs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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